Microsoft is increasing the pressure on users to develop Java applications that only run under Windows, with the latest version of its Visual J++ Java development tool.
But Microsoft denied that it was antagonising Sun, which is suing it for an alleged breach of its Java licensing contract, by releasing the product before any agreement is reached.
Visual J++ still only supports version 1.1 of Sun?s Java Developers Kit (JDK) rather than the current 1.2 release, which contains certain core technologies that Microsoft has not implemented - the heart of Sun's legal attack.
Mike Pryke-Smith, Microsoft?s tools product marketing manager, said: ?When we signed to license Java, we signed to license what was available - we didn?t say we?d license every release that came out. So, we?re taking the functionality that we licensed and are turning it into a tool for developing Java applications that are optimised for the Windows environment.?
The beta version of release 6.0 of Visual J++ was posted to the software giant?s Web site today, but it is not expected to ship until the second half of this year.
Although the offering is technically a 2.0 release, it has been renumbered to introduce a common numbering system across Microsoft's development tools - the next releases of Visual Basic and Visual C++ will also be version 6.0.
The product now includes Windows Foundation Classes for Java, which support the Win32 application programming interfaces and Dynamic HTML, but not Sun?s Java Foundation Classes or Enterprise Java Beans.
It does support Java Beans and Microsoft's ActiveX and Com component models, however.
The upgrade also includes new rapid application development features to make programming more visual and less manual, and new distributed debugging functions for multi-tier applications.
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